Bore Flex Industries Inc. has tripled its capacity for high density polyethylene pipe by acquiring three former Lamson & Sessions Co. plants.
``We felt we needed to expand and take control of our own destiny,'' Bore Flex President Mike Morgan said in a telephone interview.
Bore Flex did not reveal terms of the Dec. 31 deal, but Morgan said it involved ``creative financing.''
The company acquired plants in Dunn, Mo.; Erie, Pa.; and Tennille, Ga.; a distribution center in Fort Myers, Fla.; and a precision metal components producer, H&H Aero, in Cranesville, Pa.
The purchase puts Bore Flex's total HDPE pipe capacity at about 100 million pounds per year, including Bore Flex's single facility in Mountain Grove, Mo. The four plants together employ roughly 200.
Thomas & Betts Corp. of Memphis, Tenn., acquired Lamson & Sessions in 2007, soon after deciding to sell off the pipe plants. Lamson's PVC pipe plants were sold last summer to Mitsubishi Corp., but the HDPE pipe factories still had been for sale.
``The majority of [Thomas & Betts] electrical products portfolio are shelf goods sold to electrical distributors and retailers,'' said that firm's vice president of investor and corporate relations, Patricia Bergeron. ``Internally, we use a centralized distribution model to meet these customer needs.
``By their [large and bulky] nature, pipe products do not readily fit this distribution model; hence, the decision to divest,'' Bergeron said.
Bore Flex sales have grown to $30 million a year since the firm was established in July 2005. The business grew out of a failed composite lumber operation, called Lifetime Lumber Inc., in which Morgan and partners invested $5.1 million before throwing in the towel due to persistent moisture problems. Since then, Morgan and three partners have spent about $4 million on Bore Flex, which employs about 45. Partners are Carl Jungers Sr., Todd Volker and a silent investor.
Two of the recently acquired pipe plants are familiar to Morgan. He and a group of investors started the Mountain Grove and Tennille operations under the name of Ameriduct Worldwide Inc. Lamson & Sessions bought Ameriduct in 2000.
``It was a twist of fate how it all came into place,'' Morgan said. ``[Familiarity with two plants] allowed us to speed through the due diligence process.'' He said negotiations and due diligence on the pipe plants took about five weeks.
Bore Flex now can make HDPE pipe in diameters of one-half inch to 18 inches, Morgan said. The firm sells its products mainly through distributors.
Morgan said Bore Flex is not planning any major changes in the acquired operations. ``Our No. 1 goal is to continue getting good product and meeting customer needs,'' he said.